Veggie Girl: Chipotle

It shouldn't be this easy, right? I've pinned this entire column, too many times, on a long-winded kvetch about how many questions I have to ask--and how resentful I suspect the various wait staffers must feel--every time I go out to eat. So when I found out that not only does Chipotle disclose all of the ingredients to almost all of its burrito fixings online, but also that you can order online, I was flabbergasted at my own dispensability.

They don't need me! I thought frantically. The veg-heads of Dallas can easily deduce which beans are vegan-friendly (the black beans)! They can arrange their own combinations of vegan guacamole, veggies and various types of salsa! They can order their food online, too, eliminating the need for a middleman (or middle-woman) to tell them whether the service is good (it's fine) or the guy behind the counter is even attractive (he is).

If indeed the Internet spelled the end of newspapers everywhere, then Chipotle's DIY-style dining--even if it is just that side of fast food--is the perfect answer to trimming the glut of overpaid writers (oxymoron?) from our economy.

Not that that's so bad. My lovely and extremely learned friend Frank recently described to me one of the prescriptions for ending a recession: That "unnecessary" jobs must be replaced--whether by top-down action or by the natural shifting of the economy--with "necessary" ones. I asked him if that meant, occupationally, that writing should be replaced by things like soybean farming, nanotech engineering, sheepshearing, water purifying and other such necessary endeavors...note the absence of bankers, lawyers and definitely those pesky valet parking entrepreneurs. (For the record, it's not quite so simple...but that's another story.)

Anyway, in a very vague and theoretical way, what I'm trying to say is that Chipotle is good, but that its streamlined, systematic approach to the joy of eating launched in me an existential crisis that's probably not unrelated to the fact that (talk about burying the lede) this will be my final column as the Dallas Observer's Veggie Girl, and I'm kind of nostalgic.

I never thought I'd like Dallas as much as I did, and I certainly didn't expect to be able to do two seemingly incongruous things--be vegan and eat out in Dallas--at the same time. Onto the next adventure!

Chipotle 4330 Lemmon Ave. (and many other locations)

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Alexa Schirtzinger